Investing in additive manufacturing industrialization

Oerlikon announced at the end of November 2016 that it has signed an agreement to acquire citim GmbH, Germany (citim). citim is a leading company in additive manufacturing design and production of metal components. The acquisition expands Oerlikon’s additive manufacturing technology and service portfolio with established 3D printing capabilities in Europe and in the USA.

With the acquisition of citim, Oerlikon takes an important step to become a global powerhouse in surface solutions and advanced materials. Oerlikon’s knowledge in the engineering of industrial components, materials, and closely related technologies such as thermal spray and thin-film coating make it well positioned to take part in the industrialization of additive manufacturing. The acquisition of citim adds strong expertise in the area of additive manufacturing production services and paves the way for Oerlikon to become an independent service provider for additive manufacturing components. citim’s core expertise lies in metal additive manufacturing for small-series production and functional prototypes. The company operates production sites in Europe and in the USA, serving high-tech industries such as aviation, automotive and energy. In 2015, citim generated CHF 12 million in sales and profitability around the same level as the operating margin of the Surface Solutions Segment. The company has around 120 employees. Both parties agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction.

Additive manufacturing expands the design envelope for high-performance industrial components and offers cost reductions compared to traditionally manufactured parts in many custom and low-volume applications. As components are built layer by layer according to the digital design until the three-dimensional object is created, it allows complex forms not achievable with traditional methods to be fabricated. In addition, it opens up new possibilities for designs with enhanced performance or functionalities. AM essentially also enables a more efficient use of materials and reduces material waste.

Oerlikon offers a leading portfolio of advanced metal-based materials and processing technologies applied across a wide range of industrial areas. Its materials portfolio of metal powders also includes materials fully qualified for additive manufacturing. Combining Oerlikon’s R&D skills and knowledge in the design and engineering of industrial components, powder materials, surface technologies for post-production processing and in-house services for component production, it can now offer an integrated end-to-end service concept for additive manufacturing.

Oerlikon CEO Dr. Roland Fischer said: “The competencies and team from citim will serve to consolidate our position in the additive manufacturing business, marking the acquisition as an important move for us to drive the industrialization of additive manufacturing and to become an independent service provider for the production of additively manufactured components. We will continue to make targeted investments in the additive manufacturing market to solidify our value proposition.”

About Oerlikon

Oerlikon (SIX: OERL) is a leading global technology Group with a clear strategy of becoming a global powerhouse in surface solutions, advanced materials and materials processing. The Group is committed to investing in value-bringing technologies that provide customers with lighter, more durable materials that are able to increase performance, improve efficiency and reduce the use of scarce resources. A Swiss company with over 100 years of tradition, Oerlikon has a global footprint of over 13 500 employees at more than 170 locations in 37 countries and sales of CHF 2.7 billion in 2015. The company invested CHF 103 million in R&D in 2015 and has over 1 350 specialists developing innovative and customer-oriented products and services.

About citim GmbH

Founded in 1996 as a spin-off of Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, the company first focused on prototype tooling. With around 120 employees, the company serves customers in the aerospace, energy, medical, and automotive industries. During the following years, the company’s portfolio was continuously enlarged with new technologies. In 2004, citim introduced its laser sintering technology, and in 2009, laser melting was launched onto the market. Now, with 16 up-to-date machines operating in Barleben, Germany, and at the company’s second site in Kennesaw, USA, citim is a leading supplier for additively manufactured metal parts. Various industries like automotive, motor sports, aerospace and consumer goods benefit from the company’s manufacturing experience and expertise.